White Bean and Asparagus Salad

This spring salad can be served straight up or as crostini, over toasted bread. The lemon vinaigrette sharpens the creamy white beans for a lively vegetarian meal.

(Serves 4)

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (15- to 19-oz) cans white beans, rinsed and drained well
1 piece (1/2-lb) Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley optional: 4 slices country-style bread
1 garlic clove

Cut asparagus on a diagonal into 1/8-inch slices

Bring oil, lemon zest, juice, salt, and pepper to a simmer in a 4-quart heavy saucepan, then stir in beans and asparagus. Remove from heat at let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, removed enought cheese from piece with a vegetable peeler to measure about 1/2 cup shavings. Add shavings to beans along with parsley, then toss.

If making crostini, toast bread until golden. Rub side of bread with cut garlic clove, then season with salt and halve. Serve bean salad with toasts.

This recipe comes from Gourmet (RIP)